Lesson 3: If There’s No Time to Plan, Improvise!
The Blue Fish Diner is a small fast-food restaurant in the middle of the city—the perfect place for a group of student superheroes to get together and plan how to defeat an evil librarian without drawing any attention from said librarian.
If only they would all show up.
My tail twitches as I glance around. We Creature Kids agreed earlier to meet here to plan what to do about the Lexicona issue, but so far only me and Dog Girl are here. “Where is everyone?” I wonder, looking at my watch. “They should be here by now. It’s been over fifteen minutes.”
Dog Girl shrugs. “I’m sure they’ll show up soon,” she says. “In the meantime, I’m starving!” She picks up the menu lying on the table in front of her and begins to read it. “Mmm, that bacon cheeseburger looks delicious!”
I shake my head. “How can you think about food at a time like this?”
“I’m always thinking about food, Catgirl,” Dog Girl replies. “Besides, we’re going to need our energy for figuring out how to stop Lexicona from whatever she’s planning to do.”
I almost hate to admit it, but she’s got a point. “But we should at least wait till the others get here to eat. If they get here,” I add, biting my lip as I look around again. “Seriously, where are they? It shouldn’t take them this long.”
Dog Girl pulls her phone out of a pocket in her furry brown dog costume. “Don’t worry, I’ll text them.”
Soon my phone pings, and I pull it out of my own pocket to read Dog Girl’s message.
Dog Girl to Creature Kids group chat: where r u guys? Me and 🐱 been waiting here for a while now
About five minutes pass before my phone pings again.
Creature Girl to Creature Kids group chat: kinda busy rn, b there soon tho
Dog Girl and I trade a confused, worried glance before she turns back to her phone.
Dog Girl to Creature Kids group chat: wdym busy what’s going on?!
Several more minutes go by.
Finally, another message pops up. Flying Fox to Creature Kids group chat: can’t talk rn syl
My tail lashes back and forth as I send a frantic text: u guys ok??
Dog Girl lets out a very dog-sounding whimper. “I don’t think they’re okay.”
“Same,” I agree, jumping to my feet. “I’m going to go look for them and find out what’s going on.”
She stands up too. “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”
“Of course you are.” Then I mumble, “Especially since your canine tracking skills could, you know, help us find them faster.”
Dog Girl grins, tilting her head towards me. “Sorry, what did you say? Might wanna speak a little louder.”
I roll my eyes and sigh. “I said, your canine tracking skills could help us find our friends faster.”
She grins wider. “Still couldn’t hear you, can you say it again?”
I swat her playfully. “No, I know you heard me the first time.”
“Okay, so I did. But I had to make sure, because there’s no way Catgirl just complimented my awesome dog powers! Does this mean we’re actually becoming friends now?”
I smirk. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. And come on, we’re wasting time.”
But before either of us can make a move, both of our phones ping with another text.
Bird Boy to Creature Kids group chat: 🐶 🐱 get out of there! She’s coming for u
Dog Girl and I trade another look. I think we both know who it is that Bird Boy’s trying to warn us about. The one who’s probably the reason why the rest of the Creature Kids haven’t showed up to our meeting. The one who’s the reason why we were going to have this meeting in the first place.
Dog Girl pulls her floppy-eared hood higher over her head and adjusts the black mask over her eyes. “Oh, I think we’re staying right where we are,” she says determinedly. “Lexicona’s coming to us. This is our chance to catch her!”
I nod in agreement. “And we are not letting her get away this time.”
Dog Girl looks around the restaurant. “But we can’t let these people be here when she shows up. Too dangerous.”
I nod again, remembering how Lexicona had used books to hypnotize everyone at the library.
Dog Girl pushes me forward. “You go warn everyone to get out of here. I’ll keep an eye out for our supervillain.”
My ears flatten. “What? I’m not doing that! Why don’t I watch out for Lexicona? You’re the one who’s good at getting people’s attention.”
Dog Girl gives me an exasperated look. “Seriously? You’re not going to warn these innocent citizens of danger because you’re shy?”
“I’m not shy,” I snap. “I just don’t like being the center of attention. Plus, I’d be a better lookout than you. I have retractable claws and lightning-fast reflexes to pounce on her as soon as she steps through the door. All you have is your supersonic bark.”
“Which is more than enough for me, but whatever—we can’t waste time arguing,” Dog Girl replies. “So fine, you be there to meet Lexicona when she comes. I’ll warn the citizens.”
While I go over to stand by the door, Dog Girl climbs on top of a table in the middle of the restaurant and gives a piercing whistle that has me covering my ears.
The restaurant gets quiet as everyone turns to stare at her.
“Hey everybody, Dog Girl here! Okay, so don’t freak out, but I just wanted to let you guys know that a supervillain is on her way here. You might want to clear out —in a calm and orderly fashion, of course—so that no one gets hurt while Catgirl and I deal with her!”
The sound of clattering silverware and scraping chairs fills the room as everyone jumps out of their seats and make their way to the door in a panicked, screaming frenzy.
“I said in a calm and orderly fashion! What part of that did you not understand?” Dog Girl shouts after them, but of course no one hears her.
I leap out of the way just in time to narrowly avoid getting trampled by the frightened crowd.
“Well, that worked,” I remark, surveying the now-empty restaurant with my hands on my hips.
“Yep! Now I guess we just wait for Lexicona to show up,” Dog Girl says.
I flick my tail. “Actually, I have a better idea. We find a place to hide so we can ambush her as soon as she walks through the door.”
Dog Girl nods. “Ooh, I like that! Let’s do it.”
My ears twitch as I hear footsteps approaching outside. “And it sounds like she’s here now.”
We each crouch behind a large potted plant on either side of the door. I tense, keeping my ears pointed forward and my eyes on the door.
It opens. She steps inside. And then we pounce.
“Oof!” the person cries as she hits the floor.
Wait a minute…
“It’s not her!” I realize.
The person we ambushed is a teenage girl, probably a couple years older than me and Dog Girl. She has short, dark hair and round glasses that make her surprised blue eyes appear larger.
Sheepishly, Dog Girl and I push ourselves off her. “We’re so sorry,” Dog Girl apologizes. “We thought you were Lexicona.”
The girl stands up and adjusts her glasses. “Nope, not Lexicona,” she agrees, brushing herself off. Then she lifts her chin dramatically. “Only her sidekick, the Bookworm!”